July 13, 2014

Concert Next Sunday

Hello readers,

If any of you are in the New York City area next sunday I'll be playing a short concert (probably about ten minutes) as part of a collective concert at the Quaker Meeting House on 15th St.

Here is the wonderful, exciting write-up for this event:

Come one, come all!
Relaxing musical event!
Free! And happiness and joy will abound.
Sunday, July 20th, 1pm to 2:30/3:00
15th St Meeting House/Meeting Room

Performers will include bagpiping John Maynard, Moog synthesizing Jacob Graham, spiritual/gospel singing D.D. Sims, Irish instruments and voice wizard Lorcan Otway, classical violinist Diana Smith-Barker.  There will also be a special guest or two!

Everyone welcome to 11:00 Meeting for Worship at 15th St before this event, and coffee/food between 12:00and 1pm immediately preceding the concert.

July 4, 2014

June 10, 2014

Time Travel

David McDermott and Peter McGough will always hold a special place in my heart.

June 8, 2014

Am I living in the Wrong Time?

Sometimes I feel like I was born in the wrong time. Maybe I should have been born in 1870, or 1930, or 1955. What would my life have been like? I must admit to you, reader, that I'm not so devoted to vintage Roland instruments as I was when I started this blog years ago. I felt like I hit a wall. I felt a little lost. About twelve years ago I started building a modular synthesizer in MU format with modules from synthesizers.com. I've started building up my modular system again. And I'm realizing it's a great time to be alive! Synthesizers.com is no longer the only company making these things. There's a whole bunch of people doing it, and I suspect there's more on the way! Anyway, that's what I'm up to. 


May 31, 2014

Finally, a Practical, MUSICAL Application for Sample & Hold!

I'm definitely admitting a lot of ignorance here; but I've just never, in all my years of playing and programing synthesizers, found a useful purpose for a Sample & Hold circuit. People always say "No, they're super useful!" and then proceed to sample a noise source and produce your classic computing / calculating sound. Who needs it!

Well, here it is! Someone using Sample & Hold to produce a lovely melodic passage. Can't wait to try it out for myself. Thanks Doug!


May 24, 2014

This Noise is Too Noisy!

We've only played a hand full of concerts in the past few months, one in South America and one in The Philippines last week, so I've only had a few opportunities to road test my new set up (including the Moog Subphatty -- perhaps I'll start calling it The Sub25, that sounds much nicer!). Anyway, I've been noticing that the noise on this thing sounds really crazy. Like, ahh!! make it stop!!! So, today I decided to crack open the manual again and just like my issues with the oscilators (see Tone Color 2) if you turn the noise knob past 6 (not very far at all!) bad things start to happen. This is what the manual says:

"Settings higher than 6 push the level beyond unity, imparting gentle filter distortion."
"gentle filter distortion" is putting it gently! It sounded like the world was ending! I was looking for wispy, gentle streams of air. But there's more...

"The Sub Phatty’s noise generator produces a signal called pink noise. Pink noise has equal amplitude in every octave, making it sound deeper than white noise—more like the sound of a waterfall. Most synthesists consider pink noise more useful than white noise."

Unfortunately I am not one of those synthesists.  White noise is the standard I'm used to and it just seems so much cleaner and sits better in a mix. Oh well, the moral of the story is to just read your manuals from start to finish. I've used so many different synthesizers in my life I was overly confident in how things are "supposed" to work. But these are new times, things are different now. Everything distorts.